Under the regulations, all voluntary, private and public sector organisations with 250 or more employees will be obliged to publish a detailed breakdown (including mean and median pay gap figures and information on bonuses) by April 2018. It is thought that eliminating gender pay gaps could add £150 billion to annual GDP by 2025.
The UK is one of the first countries in the world to introduce gender pay gap reporting. In addition to publishing figures, employers will be encouraged to develop an action plan detailing how they intend to close the gender pay gap in their organisation. The Government Equalities Office has begun working with employers who are considering publishing their figures early, and has launched a campaign page with resources for employers.
The government says that the pay gap currently stands at 18.1 per cent, the lowest since records began, but that steps must be taken to “eliminate it completely”. P3 reported back in December that women in community pharmacy continue to be paid less than men.
Minister for Women and Equalities Justine Greening said: “We have more women in work, more women-led businesses than ever before and the highest proportion of women on the boards of our biggest companies. This has helped us to narrow the gender pay gap to a record 18.1 per cent but we want to eliminate it completely.
“Helping women to reach their full potential isn’t only the right thing to do, it makes good economic sense and is good for British business. I am proud that the UK is championing gender equality and now those employers that are leading the way will clearly stand out with these requirements.”
Other steps the government is taking to reduce the gender pay gap include free childcare for working families with three and four-year-olds, encouraging girls to consider STEM careers and investing £5 million in programmes to help women and men return from career breaks.
Tackling the issue
Acas chief executive Anne Sharp said: “Compulsory gender pay reporting starts this week. The new requirement provides a great opportunity for organisations to consider whether they can do more to develop their talented women and secure the benefits of greater gender diversity at all levels.
“The UK has made progress in reducing the gender pay gap but we still have lots to do – tackling the issue is in the interests of individuals, organisations and the economy as a whole.
“Acas guidance on gender pay reporting provides businesses with practical advice on how to carry out the calculations and on family friendly working to reduce the gap.”
Sir Philip Hampton (chair, GSK) and Dame Helen Alexander (chair, UBM plc), chairs of the Hampton-Alexander Review: FTSE Women Leaders said: “An uneven distribution of men and women through the different levels of an organisation can be a significant cause of a gender pay gap.
“Those companies taking action are helping to close the gender pay gap by harnessing the skills and experience of talented women. They also recognise that it addresses the underrepresentation of women in senior positions and costly loss of their skills to British business and the economy.”